Where do you begin when talking about a legend like Emmylou Harris, whose musical career began in the 1960s and continues today? There’s her time playing coffee houses in New York’s ground zero of folk, her fabled apprenticeship with The Byrds’ Gram Parsons, many collaborations including with Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash, Bruce Springsteen, Glen Campbell and Rodney Crowell, and a lovely, unlikely musical partnership with Dire Straits founder Mark Knopfler. She’s earned 14 Grammys, including a lifetime achievement award, became a member of the Grand Ole Opry in 1992 and was admitted to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2008. She writes her own songs but also romances a cover tune to make it swoon with delight. But those are merely things she’s done, not how she sounds nor how you shiver when her music lays a hand on your shoulder. She brings old-time sensibilities to popular music and sophistication to country music. To hear Harris sing is to witness spirits parting galaxies, offering glimpses of eternity beyond. Her luminous voice doesn’t so much travel upon the music as weave itself into the essence of the notes. That voice is so powerful it expands moments, so fragile it could be captured in a cobweb. Creating music for the ages, soundtracks for the eras of our lives.
Biography by Mary-Lynn Wardle